Market making giant Virtu eyes role as wholesale service for crypto brokers

Quick Take

  • Virtu Financial is eyeing a big push into the crypto market, according to sources.
  • At industry futures conference FIA Boca the firm has laid out to attendees its plans to become a crypto wholesaler and has been advocating regulators to approve new crypto financial products. 

Virtu Financial, a multibillion-dollar market-making firm, is looking to expand its crypto footprint in the coming months.

That dynamic was on display during the FIA Boca futures industry conference in Boca Raton, where numerous crypto-focused firms have decamped to pitch the broader traditional finance space.

At the conference, Virtu has staked out an ambitious roadmap for its involvement in the crypto market, eyeing a role as a wholesaler for brokers like Robinhood, the popular trading app. 

On Wall Street, wholesalers provide large institutions and brokers with flow to support trading for smaller end-clients. 

Virtu has been market-making on crypto exchanges, including Coinbase and Gemini, for some time, as previously reported by The Block, as well as crypto exchange Bullish per recent statements. The firm has also played a role in market making for financial products tied to crypto.

High-speed trading companies have long played an active role in the crypto market, with well-known Chicago-based shops such as Jump Trading and DRW long operating desks in the space. 

Virtu has also been advocating for crypto firms during meetings with regulators at the Florida conference.

The firm is pushing for agencies such as the Commodities Futures Trading Commission to approve FTX's plan to roll out its unique structure for offering crypto derivatives in the US. Virtu is also advocating for a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), which would be yet another exchange-traded product for the firm to make markets.

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